You Don’t Understand, I’m different!
After 20 years of recruiting, on-boarding and training sales people, it never ceases to amaze me when a new salesperson says this to me. The sad fact is that almost all of the new agents I have worked with, at some level, believed it (whether they expressed it out loud or not.)
How do I know? Their actions made it crystal clear. They failed to follow the sales system they had been given. They thought that they were smarter than the other poor rubes that they worked with. If someone else, who was following the system, was having success, they must be cheating, lying, stealing, or just plain lucky. “There is no way that person is smarter than me,” the agent who isn’t following the system thinks.
The reality is that they are probably right. And that will absolutely kill their chances for success. Over my career I have noticed that the “smarter” someone is, or thinks they are, the less likely they are to follow the system to the letter.
Put The Pressure On The System
In Joe Buzzello’s fantastic book The Cap Equation Joe recounts a story of his father (who was never in sales by the way) rather pointedly expressing to Joe that he had never actually done exactly what the sales manager had asked him to do. When Joe realized his father was right he went back to the system with abandon.
I have heard Joe repeatedly coach people to “Put the pressure on the system.” In other words, take your personality, skill level, and “motivation” out of the equation. Nike it. Just do it. Just do what the company is asking you to do. Just do it whether you feel like it or not. Do it before you learn everything you “think” you need to know. Just do it before you have the “polish and charisma” that your manager/trainer has. Just do it!
Ten Ways To Kill Your Sales Career
Here are the 10 ways I have found people, who through their actions or by what they say, are expressing those five deadly words, “You don’t understand. I’m different.”
- “You don’t understand. I’m different” I’m above cold calling. I am going to join 213 leads groups. All the business I could ever want will show up at the Chamber of Commerce mixers I will attend. I’m going to get 100% of my business through referrals. I have a golden rolodex and everyone will line up to buy from me. (Millennials, Google the word Rolodex.)
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” I know the company encourages me to start with my natural market, those people who know, like and trust me. But I don’t want to approach them until I am a pro. How embarrassing it is to let people know I might need help.
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” I have been around 3 months now and I don’t need that training coming up this week. I mean I could be out in the field making money. I’m sure they are just going to harp on why we should follow their stupid system.
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” There is absolutely no reason for me to learn the scripts. Who talks like that anyway? I prefer to just allow the conversation to flow. I don’t want to come off as too “sales-y.”
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” I have to understand every nuance, feature, and memorize the pricing of every single product before I can start marketing. I mean what if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to? I don’t want to make our company look bad. Besides, if I don’t know everything about our products, how can I know if I believe in them? There is no way I could ever sell something I don’t believe in so I’m going to spend this week, at my desk, learning the product inside and out.
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” I pride myself in providing world class service to my clients. If I keep prospecting there is no way I’m going to be able to handle all the business I have coming in.
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” I don’t have time to follow up on all my prospects. If they didn’t buy from me the first time, why should I give them anymore of my time?
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” I’m not really much of a reader. I read enough in college to last a lifetime. Besides, you can’t learn how to sell by reading. It has to be learned through the “school of hard knocks.”
- “You don’t understand. I’m different.” I took this sales position so that I could be my own boss. I’m an independent contractor. When you start paying my health insurance, you can tell me what to do.
- “You don’t understand. I’m different………………………….”
I know many of you at about this point are getting ready to print this post off (or forward it by email) for someone you think really needs to read it. (I’d really appreciate if you did that!) My question for you though is are you guilty of believing you are different? Maybe you have been around a while and have had enough success that you have strayed away from the system. Perhaps your success is in spite of abandoning the system. My guess though is that if you had continued to press on doing exactly what your company taught you, your success would be even greater.
The bottom line is that until you give up the delusion that you are different you will never reach your full potential.